By Davies Iheamnachor, Amarachi Uzoma & Isioma Ananaba
PORT HARCOURT: THE Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has expressed fears over the continuous deferral in the commencement of the actual cleanup of Ogoni land. MOSOP stated that Ogoni lands and water were still polluted, adding that the people could not resume fishing and farming due to the delay in the cleanup.
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, had been set up to carry out the remediation process and had commenced a demonstration exercise in some of the impacted sites in Gokana, Khana and Tai local government areas of the state.
President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, speaking in Port Harcourt, during a consultative meeting with Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, to examine the capacity of the governing structure for the cleanup, called on the Federal Government and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to speed up the process.
Pyagbara said: “Five years are over and the Ogoni lands are still polluted and our people are still suffering. The land cannot still be used. Even the financial support is limited and this is causing havoc for the people.
Between capital flow and real execution
“We have set up a structure to interface between HYPREP and the community, but the cleanup has not even started. If you count from August 2011 when the project was endorsed, you will notice that we have already gone past the first five years and nothing has been done, that is why people have been crying over the delay.
“Last year, they launched the implementation process in June 2, 2016 which occurred almost in the first five years of the project; we are supposed to encounter significant work done. The process has begun, but the problem now is how to bring the capital in the process and the implementation on ground.”
Not enough support from Rivers govt
Pyagbara further noted that the project was not getting the expected support from the Rivers state government, adding that stakeholders were not pleased with the situation.
“The Rivers State Government says they are not being carried along in the project, which is not true to some extent because the current representation of the Governing Board for the cleanup has the Commissioner for Environment as a member. We are not getting the level of cooperation that the Rivers State government is supposed to give to the project,” he asserted.